In psychology, there’s a concept called “egocentrism.” Now before you start thinking of that stuck-up acquaintance you just can’t stand, know that in this context, it refers to young children who haven’t yet learned to think from other people’s perspectives. For example, a child who hasn’t progressed past egocentrism might nod when asked a question over the telephone. They assume that everyone has their knowledge and their view point.

Often, we do this in our writing. Remember that paper you wrote when the Muse spoke to your heart and the words just flowed? And then, your teacher looked at it and gave you a 72 percent. There are a number of reasons this may have happened. (Defiance of grammar laws is often a culprit.) But maybe the reason your brilliant essay didn’t click with your teacher is that it just didn’t make sense. Think about it. Did you organize your topic logically? Did you transition from one point to another smoothly? Was that stellar piece of reasoning as clear as you thought?

Your reader doesn’t have your perspective or your background. Something that’s as obvious to you as the school colors may be utter murk to your reader. So remember to ask, “How will my words sound to the reader?” Don’t nod on the telephone when you write.